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Lanka look for tri-series triumph

The visitors will be looking for another Sydney assault from Sanath Jayasuriya on Sunday.

india Updated: Feb 11, 2006 13:44 IST

Sri Lanka will be looking for another Sydney assault from Sanath Jayasuriya on Sunday in their bid to inflict a rare tri-series limited-overs series defeat on Australia.

The exhilarating opening batsman has scored centuries in his past three limited-overs internationals at the Sydney Cricket Ground, including a stunning 114 earlier in this series. That innings came from just 96 balls and included four sixes and set up an impressive victory over the Australians.

Jayasuriya averages 76.83 from his six SCG innings and another fireworks display could hand Australia a first finals defeat in this annual tri-series since the West Indies won in 1993. Australia has twice since failed to make the finals and is trailing 1-0 in the best-of-three series this time after Sri Lanka's 22-run win in Adelaide on Friday.

"Sri Lanka has had success (in Sydney) and Sanath Jayasuriya has had a lot of personal success there,' said Sri Lanka's coach Tom Moody. "Obviously it doesn't guarantee success on Sunday but he is in good form and I'm sure he's looking forward to seeing the Sydney wicket again.

"The guys enjoy Sydney, it's a great cricket ground, it's obviously a big match for both teams because Australia have got to bounce back and I am sure they will do, they're a class outfit." Sri Lanka batted first on Friday and piled on 274-8 as Australia appeared to struggle with Glenn McGrath out of the team for personal reasons. Australia lost five wickets to run outs in their reply. Captain Ricky Ponting, one of those run out on Friday, said his team remained in good form and defended his bowling attack. McGrath is missing as his wife Jane battles cancer, and he hasn't set a return date.

"That's not a big total we chased, we've chased any total, we've chased 330, 340 and got them, we weren't worried about them, and it's not the bowling side of it we were worried about, we were happy chasing 270," Ponting said on Saturday.

"We didn't have Glenn for the last couple of games and probably played some of our best cricket, that's just the way it is at the moment. (Stuart) Clark and (Nathan) Bracken, (Brett) Lee and (Brad) Hogg and (James) Hopes have done a good job right through the series and I expect them to do the same for us on Sunday." Australia coach John Buchanan acknowledged that defeat in Sydney could have some impact on the squad, especially a year out from the World Cup.

"There would be some fall out if Australia lost the series 2-0, no doubt about that at all," Buchanan said. "(But) the more cutthroat or the more challenging or the more knock out it is, that's all good for us because we're going to face it in eight months time in the ICC (Champions Trophy) and soon after that hopefully in the World Cup."

While Ponting played down Australia's bowling problems, Buchanan said the team had struggled near the end of Sri Lanka's innings. The tourists scored 88 off the final 10 overs.

"And our last five overs went for 50-odd runs," Buchanan said. "Those 50 runs hurt us a little bit, but even than 270 was a reasonable total to chase if we got our foundation right. Then obviously we committed suicide not once, but four times early, so we made it very difficult for ourselves to get that foundation."

First Published: Feb 11, 2006 13:44 IST